- Sermon Notes
What Will You Do with What Mary Knew?
Intro: Mary did you know?
Read: Luke 1:26-28
At the beginning of Luke chapter one, the Lord sent a message through the same angel, Gabriel, to an old priest named Zechariah, revealing that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son in their old age, this son would be named John, and he was the forerunner of the Messiah. The announcement marked the end of 400 years of prophetic silence, to a nation that had been waiting for the promised Messiah.
Just as written on the Scriptures hundreds of years earlier, a messenger was going to clear a way before the Lord (Mal. 3:1), he would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). Zechariah was told that the prophesied forerunner who would prepare the way for the Savior, is going to be their son John. We looked last week at how God’s giving a child to a couple that is referred to as “well stricken” in age, seemed impossible, even to a seasoned priest as he prayed.
And as things fast forward to six months in the future, and the scene shifts from God doing what seemed impossible things in the life of an old priest, now we see that God is going to continue with things that seem an impossibility in the life of a young woman named Mary. It is a visit from Gabriel again, who in this chapter has been quite busy!
Mary was around the age of 14 years old when she meets Gabriel, she was a virgin, and had already been betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph. After we read a short description and read Gabriel’s greeting to her, we then read of when she first heard God’s call upon her.
Luke 1:30-33, The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
In a matter of three short verses, Mary learned some amazing things. She had found favor with God, she was going to have a child, bear a Son, she would name Him Jesus.
This announcement was not just any announcement. This was an announcement to the mother of the promised and prophesied Messiah. The announcement was that He was coming, and she was the one called to bear and birth Him.
Jesus will be great, the Son of the Most high possessing the very nature of God (Hebrews 1:1-3), as prophesied, He would be given the throne of His father David, He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom would have no end (Is. 9:6-7, Revelation 11:15).
The angel Gabriel gives Mary the details of what the Lord was calling her to. That in His favor, she would bear a Son, and that Son was Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. Mary now knows the Lord’s call on her life, that she would bear a Son, and she is told the identity of the Son she would bear and birth into the world. And after coming to that conclusion, she has a quick question.
Luke 1:34-38, Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary had questions, but what she was told and then knew was that the conclusion of those questions was wrapped up in the fact that God was going to do what only He could do. Based upon what she now knew, that the Lord was calling her to bear and birth Jesus Christ, that Jesus is the Son of the Most High, she decides to place her plans in God’s Hands, saying “may it be done in my life.”
Mary may or may not have known everything, but with what she did know, she chose to respond by committing her life to call of God and say yes to Jesus Christ.
This brings us back to the question this morning, what will you do with what Mary knew?
I. Place Your Plans in God’s Hands
- After hearing God’s plan, Mary responds in verse 38 by saying, “may it be done to me.” In her responding this way, she would place much of her earthly priorities at risk.
- For starters, her impending marriage.
- In Bible times, Jewish marriage customs regarding a couple’s engagement were much more formal and stringent than what we know today. Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, often without consulting the couple. In this arrangement, the groom’s parents would pay a bride price and it was immediately deemed binding, they were pledged to one another, often for many years.
- Betrothal could only be voided by death or divorce. It lasted a year and was a time whereby the bride would prove her faithfulness and purity, while the husband was to prepare a home for his bride-to-be.
- In Mary’s responding to what she knew the Lord was calling her to, there was risk to her relationship. In fact, we know from Matthew 1:19, that when Joseph finds out, his first response will be to put a plan of his own into place to divorce her quietly.
- As Mary said, “Let it be,” there were also societal consequences. If Joseph did not believe her story, she could potentially have been stoned to death, if he chose not to marry her, she would most likely have remained unmarried for life.
- If her own father rejected her, she could be forced into begging, or prostitution in order to earn her living. Risked being called a liar, crazy or worse.
- When faced with difficult destinations in following Jesus, when something looks to get in the way we had it all planned out, certain questions come, many wrong conclusions are then considered.
- From verse 34 we know, however, that Mary did have some questions: Specifically, “how can this be, since I am a virgin?”
- The fact that the Messiah would be born of a virgin was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 7:14, The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son and will call him Immanuel.
- There is little doubt that Mary knew this prophesy. That said, she knew what was happening, the Messiah was coming, yet found herself curious as to how it was all going to happen? In asking this question, Mary was not in a state of questioning. Rather, she was in a place of wondering how this was going to happen, she was asking about the methodology.
- Gabriel responds to her by tell her that it was something the Lord was going to do. The Holy Spirit would make this happen. The angel gives testimony of what was happening in the life of her relative Elizabeth who was called barren but was not called and commission by God to bear a child in her old age. The conclusion? That God was in it, and it would all be made possible through the Holy Spirit.
- She likely knew the prophecy, the sign of the Messiah would be a virgin who give birth to a son, Immanuel. But her question, seems a question we all might have, how is this going to happen?
- Her question in the King James Version reads, “how can this be, seeing I know not a man?”
- In doing so, she asks, how will I do this without what seems to be necessary, a man?
- And as God’s plan is revealed in many of our lives, this is often the same question we put forth.
- So often, when it comes to the things we see in Scripture, we fix our eyes on the natural situation and circumstance. We look for a person to bring about the fulfillment of God’s will.
- Many often get stuck on verse 34, “How can this be?” and never quite get all the way to verse 38 declaring “may it be done to me” in and over our lives.
- We hear the plan and then look around for a human to help us out, but Gabriel says, this is something the Lord will do, and nothing is impossible with Him.
Job 42:2, I know that You can do all things, and that no plan is impossible for You.
Proverbs 19:21, Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the advice of the Lord will stand.
Psalm 146:3-5, Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
II. Get Where You Can See the Blessings in Believing God
- In verse 38, Gabriel departs, and in verse 39, so does Mary. Mary heard Gabriel say to her that her relative, Elizabeth, who was once barren, was in the sixth month of her pregnancy.
Luke 1:39-45, Now at this time Mary set out and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
- When Mary heard the news, she hurried to the hill country. It is interesting that she hurries there to her old relative’s house. Why would she go there? Why the hurry?
- It seems to me that Mary knew that the only person who would understand a 14-year-old being told by God that the Son of God was going to be conceived in her and it would happen by the power of the Holy Spirit, would be a woman who herself had just conceived miraculously.
- That Elizabeth was 6-months ahead of Mary in the miraculous. She was six months ahead in saying yes to what the Lord desired to do in her life. She was six months ahead in seeing her plans in God’s hands, and she goes there.
- Who else would understand?
- The trip she took from Nazareth to Judea was around 60 miles. She would journey alone to get there, but when she arrived, she would not be alone.
- As soon as Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting, her baby (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit revealed two things to Elizabeth in that moment, first that Mary was pregnant, and secondly, the identity of the Baby.
- Before any sit-down conversations of explanation, or any announcement of her own, Elizabeth cried out to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” “How has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me!”
- Elizabeth knows that the Lord is who Mary is carrying, and because of her belief in what was spoken to her by God, Elizabeth calls her blessed.
- Mary’s blessing was found in her willingness to believe that God would fulfill what He had revealed to her.
- To believe is to think something to be true, to be persuaded of it, to credit, to place confidence in something.
Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”
- Elizabeth calls her blessed for believing. It is a word that means to make happy, to bestow blessings on, to be favored of God.
- Through Mary’s response of believing the news of Jesus Christ in her life, she was blessed.
- This word, this blessing is also applied when you and I believe the good news of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
- Mary was blessed for believing God. And so she needed to get the place where here faith would be built, where she could built up in her faith and belief!
- So, she pursues Elizabeth, a relative who was also experiencing the blessings of believing.
- When you make a decision for Christ, there will always be doubters, always be detractors, always those who will counsel you a different way.
- I am reminded of Jonah, who was told to go to Nineveh and didn’t want to go, so, he went down to the docks and found a ship going in the opposite direction. He paid the fare, boarded the ship, and went away in the opposite direction of Nineveh in what Jonah 1 describes as, “away from the presence of the Lord.”
- That said, which path are you walking and whose counsel are you committing do? I encourage you to surround yourself with those who encourage you to see and will celebrate your belief in God.
III. Make the Choice to Rejoice in the Savior
- The Lord was bringing about great blessing, but also an interruption to Mary’s life.
- The announcement would come with many realities. She was pregnant, the baby would grow, everyone would know about it. For the rest of her life she will have a stigma. Jesus at one time will be referred to as born of fornication. But she was surrendered.
- And in verses 46 to 55, we read the details of her response.
Luke 1:46-55, And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond-servant; for behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. His mercy is to generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has given help to His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
- Mary lifts up her voice in spontaneous praise. And her words of praise are filled with what she knew God’s word had to say. There are at least 15 references to Scripture in her prayer.
- With all that she was she magnified the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.
- She humbled herself under his mighty hand, she surrendered her life into his hands, she magnified Him.
Psalm 34:1-3, I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
- Mary knew who the Savior was, and she rejoiced in Him. What will you do with what Mary knew?
Matthew 1:21, She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this was. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth herself has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called infertile is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Now at this time Mary set out and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed areyou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond-servant;
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is to generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has given help to His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
Just as He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”